Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata has welcomed the Government’s decision to cut down on its expenditure and suggested that it goes a step further by doing away with some top public service positions.
Mr Sata said in Lusaka yesterday during a Press briefing that the Government should continue finding ways of reducing expenditure to mitigate the effects of the current global financial crisis.
As one of the options, he said, the Government should start trimming down the number of ministers, deputy ministers and permanent secretaries as a measure to reduce the cost of Government operations.
He urged President Banda to consider reducing his Cabinet to cut on expenditure.
Mr Sata said that what the Government should be doing now was to find solutions to problems facing the country and stop blaming everything on external factors like the financial crisis.
He called on the media to be proactive and fight for the majority of Zambians threatened by poverty.
“I am urging President Banda to start reducing the number of ministers, deputy ministers and permanent secretaries in ministries where there are two people doing one job,” he said.
On the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), Mr Sata maintained that it should be suspended.
He said Government could still save some money from the NCC if it focused on thorny issues in the Constitution and made necessary amendments like what his party did in 2005 when it presented a proposed bill to Parliament on the 50 per cent-plus one vote.
Commenting on job losses in the mining sector, Mr Sata said the Government should strengthen the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) so that it could properly scrutinise investors as they came to Zambia.
Mr Sata said mining companies should not give the global economic recession as an excuse for not to paying mineral taxes and urged the Government to ensure that the revenue realised was invested in the improvement of the lives of people.
On Food Reserve Agency (FRA)’s engagement of three South African firms to supply non-genetically modified white maize, Mr Sata wondered when the three companies bid for the contracts.
He said awarding of the contracts should be advertised especially that one of the three companies was not from South Africa but was run by locals.
Gen Shikapwasha said the Government was of the view that concerted efforts and dialogue were needed to resolve various problems affecting the nation.
Chief Government spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha said the Government was encouraged by any suggestions from various people including Mr Sata.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said President Banda and the Cabinet were considering several measures of cutting down on the cost of Government operations but the proposal to reduce on the number of ministers and top civil servants had not been among them.
“President Banda and his Cabinet are looking at several measures. But we welcome all the suggestions from citizens, including Mr Sata,” he said.
“I am personally encouraged by the suggestions from Mr Sata because after all, we are all Zambians,” he said.
He said the president would at an appropriate time announce whatever measures would be adopted to mitigate the current economic situation.
Times of Zambia